Bicycling is a great way to combine exercise and the great outdoors in the summer. Taking the family for a ride on a local bike trail can turn an ordinary day into a mini vacation just a few blocks from home while also keeping your kids active. Cycling to and from work can save you gas money and will help you shake off the stupor of your computer screen. With more and more cyclists sharing the road with cars this time of year, it is especially important that you go over the laws of your state and follow a couple of bicycle safety tips to make sure you get home safe and sound.
7 Bicycle Safety Tips You Should Know
When a cyclist is involved in an accident with a car, the cyclist almost always suffers more severe personal injuries than the driver. Cars are, after all, much bigger and heavier than bikes and come with several safety features that bicycles do not. While drivers are responsible for staying alert and giving cyclists enough room on the road, as a bike rider there are still several things that you can do to keep yourself safe, including:
- Wear a helmet – Neither Missouri nor Illinois have mandatory bike helmet laws, but many individual counties (including St. Louis County) do have them. Make sure you know the rules for the area you are going to be biking. Even if there is no requirement, you should wear a helmet anyway. It can reduce your risk of serious personal injuries like traumatic brain injury in the event of a crash.
- Follow bike light laws – If you are cycling at night or anytime there is low lighting, it is important that your bike is equipped with a bright front headlight, as well as rear reflectors or headlights. Check with your local bike shop to make sure your bike complies with the bike light laws in Missouri and Illinois.
- Ride with traffic – Studies have shown that more bike accidents happen when a cyclist rides against traffic. If you are riding on the road, drivers expect you to act like a car, so always ride on the right, in a bike lane if possible.
- Obey all traffic signals and signs – Sharing the road with cars means behaving like a car. This means that all traffic laws, including stop lights, apply to you. Don’t crowd cars or try to pass them when they are turning.
- No distractions – Your own senses can often help you avoid a painful crash with a car. Don’t listen to music and of course don’t text and ride so that you can ensure that you are at your most alert for the whole trip.
- Use hand signals – Bikes don’t have turn signals, so use your hands to let everyone on the road know what you are planning to do.
- Bring supplies – It is vital that you bring water with you when you ride, especially in the summer. Staying hydrated helps keeps you alert and healthy. If you are planning a long ride, a snack, sunscreen and mosquito repellant are also supplies that you might consider bringing along.
Do you know of any great bike trails around the St. Louis area? Let us know on Facebook!
Our personal injury attorneys help bicycle accident victims in both Missouri and Illinois. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation. The information provided by Walton Telken, LLC in this Blog is not intended to be legal advice, but merely provides general information related to common legal issues. This Blog, and the information contained within it, is Attorney Advertisement. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Past results afford no guarantee of future results. Every case is different and must be judged on its own merits.